Community History – The History of Our People
Located in Carmacks, Yukon, in Northern Canada, the Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation is one of 14 Yukon First Nations. We have a membership of approximately 630 people including status and non-status beneficiaries. Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation (LSCFN) is a Self-Governing First Nation in the Yukon. Over the last 10 years, efforts have been made in the community of Carmacks and in LSCFN Traditional Territory to move forward with building sustainable and responsible government.
Some have succeeded, and some have failed. The failures, in many ways came down to a lack of capacity caused by damage to several generations of our people as we transitioned from a life lived on the land to a European based way of life. Our Elders and citizens have told us that we need to find a blend of Traditional Governance and contemporary governance requirements that will find a new way forward towards a healthier community.
Project Summary – How We Are Leading the Way
Selkirk First Nation over the last ten years has been gathering Traditional Governance knowledge from Northern Tutchone Elders to ensure as much knowledge is preserved as possible. The focus up to this point has been on the traditional use of fish, wildlife and the land. Traditional Governance influenced every part of life for Northern Tutchone people. It is hoped that the continued focus in this project and others, on gathering Traditional Knowledge from Northern Tutchone Elders to help find a blend of contemporary and traditional knowledge that will allow our people to move forward to a healthier life and ensure the guidance of our past generations is recorded and honoured.
This project was made up of two components:
I. Food Safety and Security and Health Adaptation to Climate Change Effects
- Nutritional Testing: Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation (LSCFN) has owned and operated a greenhouse and potato farm for just over 11years. The vegetables produced provide a safe, locally grown, healthy food supply for the local residents and Citizens of LSCFN. Vegetables are given free to Elders, those with cancer, diabetics, and single and nursing mothers in order to encourage healthy eating habits. The LSCFN were interested in conducting nutritional testing on all vegetables produced to be made aware of the quality of their locally grown greenhouse foods. On the advice of Yukon Territorial Government (YTG) Agriculture Branch staff, LSCFN decided to go ahead with it own test on LSCFN greenhouse raised tomatoes versus BC greenhouse tomatoes bought at a Whitehorse store.
- The test results proved that LSCFN grown tomatoes are comparable in nutritional value and quality. The biggest difference is the fact that LSCFN grown tomatoes produce little or no greenhouse gas emissions and are a safe, reliable, local, organic, nutritional food source.
II. Understanding Effects of Climate Change and Capacity Building
- The second part of Climate Change and Health Adaptation in Northern First Nations and Inuit Communities funding was used to support Traditional and Scientific assessment of the Big Salmon Village site at Big Salmon, Yukon. Fieldwork was conducted to assess the current status of plants, animals, soil and water at the old village of Big Salmon, Yukon. LSCFN River Crews were taught how to conduct terrestrial and aquatic site assessments.
- No samples were analyzed in this project because of budget limitations. The collection of samples was conducted to provide hands on experience of proper procedure for obtaining baseline environmental information. The scope of this project was to collect data and samples in the field as part of building capacity within LSCFN.
Research Activities – Connecting the Guidance of the Past with the Needs of Today
- Survey and compilation of available, subject applicable Traditional Knowledge research
- Elders meeting
- Nutritional testing
- One-on-one interviews with expert Elders
- River based site investigations/inspections (video; water samples; plant, fish and wildlife surveys; contaminants, etc) of culturally significant sites.
- Hands on training in collection and sampling methods for acquiring proper baseline environmental information.
- Yearly results rollout meeting to confirm findings with Elders